An increasing number of people around the world will be engaged by education in ways never imagined before. “It’s higher education in the connected age, where we can connect with anyone and anything, anytime.” These are the words of Diana Oblinger, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE, speaking at the Harvard Graduate School of Education about how higher education in the digital age is drastically rethinking how content is being delivered. EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit which advances higher education through IT and serves 2,400 post secondary institutions and corporations. Some of the examples Oblinger describes that the technology-driven revolution is reshaping college include:
- zSpace – a virtual reality platform with stylus and eyewear that allows the user to be immersed in a 3D experience.
- Simulation/Gamelike learning spaces – just like SimCity, students will be placed in an immersive, complex environment. These ‘experiential learning spaces’ are far more engaging.
- the Minerva Project – aims to offer accredited liberal arts degrees using an online learning platform. The goal is to replace the ‘campus experience’ with a ‘global experience’.
- MOOCs (massive open online courses) – such as the master’s program in computer science from Georgia Tech which is open to anyone who is qualified and can afford the $7,000 admission.
She also spoke of how there are more and more learners who are juggling work, children and learning together and who need education for their life and job. There are more and more programs that combine college degrees with on-the-job training. College for America, for example, has students who work in factory or entry-level corporate jobs, where on-the-job training counts as credit towards a university degree.
On how things might look in a decade? Oblinger describes an environment that is:
- highly immersive
- connected (class to out-of-class, physical to virtual, etc.)
In a world where we can connect with anyone and anything, anytime, we need to be smart about how we combine the new digital technology with the best of what we do face-to-face.
This idea is at the core of Ednastics’ vision and mission – to utilize technology to enhance the learning experience, providing adaptable, customized, state-of-the-art solutions without forgetting the fundamentals of educational philosophy.